As this is my third trip to China, I really should not be surprised at the gracious reception I meet everywhere. Of course, the organizers of my China Fashion & Colour Association hosts treated the artists royally, taking us to fabulous restaurants and on exciting excursions, and my family has toured me through all the hot Beijing spots, but everywhere I go, I am struck by the friendliness of the Chinese and their willingness to overlook my pathetic few phrases. I have to say this is the safest I have felt travelling anywhere in the world - the crime rate is super low and no one is afraid to walk the streets alone after midnight. I'm not saying crimes don't happen, but it is a far cry from what we experience in North America.
That being said, the traffic is insane! I cannot believe I have not witnessed a single accident! Everyone weaves everywhere: cars, buses, scooters, bicycles, pedestrians. No one wears safety gear: no seatbelts, no helmets, and only an occasional acknowledgment of the colour of the traffic light. And somehow it all works! But I have to say, I am terrified riding on the back of my son's scooter, dodging all the other vehicles and people, like a bizarre game of Frogger. Lots of horns beeping, but just to let the guy ahead or next to you know where you are. Crazy.
I have been so busy exploring Beijing that there hasn't been much time to blog, but here are some highlights from the past week.